Select Committee on Deregulation and Regulatory Reform First Report

Appendix 9

Letter to the Clerk of the Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee from the General Secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales (dated 2 August 2001)

Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Special Occasions Licensing) Order 2001

Thank you for your letter dated 19 July 2001 concerning the Regulatory Reform order to be considered for New Year 2001/2, and the concerns specifically expressed in respect of usage of the Police Power enacted in October 2001.

I would like to endorse the statement made in the General Secretary's letter of 1 April 2001 in which the Federation stated its support for the Special Occasions Licence covering both New Year and Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee. Such support remains firm as does our submission for further deregulation of licencing hours in general.

However, the Federation's view on the practicalities relating to Section 17 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 is less enthusiastic and was expressed at the time of consultation.

In answer to your question we do have concerns as to implementation. Experience would suggest that rowdy or disorderly behaviour, particularly New Year's Eve, does not seem to manifest itself in residential areas — the 'nucleus' being mainly in town/city Centre bars and 'fun' pubs.

On a practical basis police officers would attend a complaint of this nature and 'risk assess' the likelihood of compliance before seeking the authority, and if necessary back up further officers, by way of report to the inspector rank. The inspector must assess the situation before taking the authoritative steps of closure, as contained in the Act.

In short, whilst my colleagues may well now have a power granted by Parliament, the practical and discretionary aspects of policing will as ever prevail in the compliance and calming of a given situation. Usage of this power being a last resort.

I hope my reply gives sufficient confidence to the Committee in answer to concerns expressed. Should we be able to help further please do not hesitate to ask.

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Prepared 8 November 2001